Since we had a beautiful weekend with nothing else scheduled, it was a good day to hike Moosilauke for Cameron’s halfway point of the 4,000 footers. This will most likely be his last hike for this season (unless we get another good free day), so this was a great one to celebrate the end of a good summer. I hadn’t been to Moosilauke since September 2006, so it was time for another visit for me.
We arrived at the parking area along the the Ravine Lodge road a little after 8:00a, and I’m glad we got there when we did. There were already 26 cars parked along the road and by the time we left, we counted 105 cars. We started out by signing the register at the kiosk, and then headed to the Gorge Brook Trail.
We crossed the Baker River and read all the signs before continuing on our way. My son was really interested in the part that prohibited alpacas, llamas, mules and goats!
The Gorge Brook Trail is a really nice trail, never really steep or difficult in any part and continues up in gentle and moderate grades the whole way. Part of the trail is by the brook, and we only encountered one section that looked like it might have been changed due to Irene. It was easy enough to cross and pick up the trail on the other side.
When we reached the sharp right hand turn away from the brook, we took a break.
We then continued upward and soon had a few views, which became more views as the trees turned to scrubby trees and the trail became more ledgy.
Soon we were at the end of the scrub and putting on jackets, a good idea after checking the weather forecast and remembering my last windy and cold trip to this summit. Out into the wind we went, watching the grasses ripple and feeling liked we’d stepped into another world. Quickly we came to the summit, got a few photos and then settled down like others groups into the remaining stone foundations of the old summit house to eat an early lunch.
After relaxing and taking more photos, it was time to decide which way to descend. We decided to descend via the Carriage Road and Snapper Trails to make a loop. I had never been on those trails, so that was a bonus for me. We got back into the trees and enjoyed the grade of the carriage road arriving at the junction with the Glencliff Trail. At the junction we noticed that there was a short spur trail to the South Summit, so I talked my son into going over there too. I’m glad we did, it was quick little hike up to the summit which provided a really nice view of the surrounding area and look back to Moosilauke.
We then descended back to the Carriage Road and eventually to the junction with the Snapper Trail. The section between the Glencliff and Snapper junctions seemed longer than the 1.2 miles on the map, but we arrived and had another snack.
After fueling up, we were ready to head down the last 1.7 miles to the car. The Snapper Trail is another nice, gentle trail and quickly we arrived at the junction with the Gorge Brook Trail and the last little section to the car.
We had a great day – the views were spectacular, the trails were moderate and the weather was perfect. Cameron was happy with this last hike of the season and will be back on the trails in May, with plans for another summer of hiking. We really did have a great season, and were blessed by God with safety, health, resources, good weather, new hiking friends and well-maintained trails so that we now have memories of our trips that will last a lifetime.